Thal Amyloid Stages Do Not Significantly Impact the Correlation Between Neuropathological Change and Cognition in the Alzheimer Disease Continuum.J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2016; 75(6):516-26JN
The 2012 neuropathological criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD) summarize the extent of AD neuropathological change with an ABC score, which is a composite of the Thal stage of amyloid deposition (A), the Braak stage of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) (B), and the CERAD neuritic plaque score (C). NFTs and neuritic plaques are well-established contributors to cognitive impairment, but whether the Thal amyloid stage independently predicts antemortem cognition remains unknown. We used the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center autopsy data set to build adjacent-categories logit regression models with CDR-SOB and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores as cognitive outcome variables. Increasing CERAD scores were independently associated with higher CDR-SOB scores, whereas increasing Braak NFT stages predicted both higher CDR-SOB and lower MMSE scores. Increasing Thal amyloid stages were not significantly independently associated with either outcome measure. Increasing ABC scores predicted higher CDR-SOB and lower MMSE scores. These results raise the possibility that Thal amyloid stages do not substantially contribute to predicting antemortem cognition compared to CERAD neuritic plaque scores and Braak NFT stages, and suggest that the diffuse amyloid deposits participating in the assignment of Thal amyloid stages are neutral with respect to clinically detectable cognitive and functional changes.